Slasher Sequel Review: “Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers” (1988)

sleepaway camp 2 unhappy campers dvd insert

Yesterday I saw Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) for the first time. I had previously seen the original Sleepaway Camp (1983) and I found that a pretty good slasher with a noteworthy twist ending, which still manages to shock and controversy to this very day. Going into the sequel I had modest hopes, obviously the character of Angela Baker was portrayed by Pamela Springsteen this time around instead of Felissa Rose. Other than this character, there are none recurring characters in the sequels of Sleepaway Camp. I wasn’t sure about the swap of actress at first but wanted to give it a chance since I’ve been hearing great things from friends and slasher fans.

I have finally watched ‘Unhappy Campers’ and while it lacks in shock value and thrills the original Sleepaway Camp obviously had going for it, this comedic sequel takes a perfect direction with even bloodier and gorier kills as the body count has raised. Pamela Springsteen truly did a bang up job as Angela, I loved her line delivery and comedic chops. Her portrayal is slightly better than Felissa Rose but not by much. Still a very refreshing take on this special character. I also really liked Renée Estevez and Tony Higgins in this sequel. The characters were fun but very over the top and there were many parts that cracked me up. The nice references, touches and winks to classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre were totally on point. As far as watchability goes, the sequel is more watchable than the original in my opinion. Characters were fleshed out better and the acting was a slight improvement over the original. The dark humor in this was spot on but its not considered scary or surprising in my books as opposed to the original.

Still a fun and campy comedy slasher with cool death sequences, a fantastic 80s soundtrack, a hilariously good Pamela Springsteen, fun characters and some witty dark humor. Not a movie I would consider ‘great’ by any means as some is left to be desired, like the non-effective ending but it does offer exactly what it promises and then some. I was not bored for a second watching this movie and would highly recommend it to everyone!

–Ferdi Akkulak

Slasher Sequel Review: “Friday the 13th – A New Beginning” (1985)

newbeginningposter

Yesterday I saw Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) for the first time, also as part of the ‪#‎80sHorrorWeek‬. I have seen the first four Friday the 13th movies before this. 1 and 2 were fantastic entries in the horror genre, 3 was very mediocre and 4 was only half good. Well I’ve seen ‘A New Beginning’ and while its not as good as ‘The Final Chapter’, it still left a better impression on me than Part III did. The storyline, while different this time around, was interesting enough. I know most fans weren’t pleased with the approach the franchise took with this installment but I didn’t mind it to be perfectly honest with you. However, this doesn’t mean that I loved this installment as it was very by-the-numbers and filled with cliches.

The acting performances were pretty much awful. Melanie Kinnaman (as Pam) might be one of the prettiest final girls of the Friday the 13th franchise but her acting is very over the top and flawed in a lot of parts. John Shepherd (Tommy Jarvis), Carol Locatell (Ethel) and Tiffany Helm (Violet) were very solid in this film. The characters weren’t very likeable in this installment as most weren’t even trying to achieve that level. And the kills, while high on body count, were decent but pretty much bloodless. The soundtrack is pretty good, just as in the other installments. The plot twist at the end was surprising and wasn’t a letdown whatsoever, it only made up for most of the film. There aren’t many ‘scary’ scenes in this installment and the suspense is also hard to find. I did love all the scenes with the character of Ethel and the ‘robot dance’ scene with Violet was awesome! (the soundtrack ‘His Eyes’ by Pseudo Echo is my favorite of the entire franchise!)

Overall, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning isn’t one of the better Friday the 13th movies but its definitely fun to watch and I enjoyed this 80’s slasher for what it was, even though it was nothing I’d call outstanding either.

–Ferdi Akkulak

DTV Horror: “Urban Legends: Bloody Mary” (2005) Review

Urban-Legends-Bloody-Mary-2005-Dual-Audio-DVDRip

The third installment of the Urban Legend series follows the story of Samantha (Kate Mara, House Of Cards). After being kidnapped with two of her friends, she begins to believe that the mysterious killings in her town are connected to her kidnapping. After investigating a case of a missing town girl from the 1960’s, Sam realizes that the truth may be closer to home than she thought.

This film did not come very highly recommended to me as many fans of the series do not like this threequel compared to the previous two films (Urban Legend 1998, Urban Legends: Final Cut 2000). The film was pretty poorly acted for the most part but considering it was a direct to DVD release, this is not surprising.

I was reminded while watching this of Halloween III as a “stand alone film” that had nothing to do with the other installments of the Michael Myers’ franchise. Sadly, I didn’t find this film to be very comparable. Although I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought, it was still disappointing as an Urban Legend film.

The one redeeming quality of this film were the kills. Although only achieving a 15 certificate in the UK, it was still enough to allow the film to show pretty imaginative kills. This alone suggests that the film is worth a watch at least once if you are a horror/slasher fan.

I was overall disappointed in the finished film. However, if you are looking for a film that passes the time and has decent kills, you could do much worse than this one.

–Ross Wilcock

Tales From the Set: “Dismembering Christmas” With Marla Van Lanen

10930071_702582573195552_770518780922663917_n

I am excited to return to another Slasher Studios feature film! My first experience was taking a ‘test run’ up to the set location so I could easily find it the first morning of filming. My traveling companion for this test run was ‘Don’t Go to the Reunion’ cast mate, Kaleb Shorey. As we ventured into the northwoods of Wisconsin, the GPS directions took us farther and farther down one lane, dead end snow covered roads with hills, twists and turns, and seemingly, no cabin in the woods. This was already turning into a scary adventure and the movie has not even begun! Finally, we came across two fellows carrying snow shovels. I called out ‘are you making a movie?’ and lo and behold, this was our Director, Austin Bosley and DP, Jordan Hiller. They were coming to the rescue of some of the multiple cast and crew who would find themselves stuck in the winter wonderland. Another mile down the trail I had my first look at the film set. A rustic vacation home on a secluded lake. This was going to be where the magic happens. No one for miles around….just frozen Wisconsin tundra. And no phone or internet service.

Filming the movie was everything and more than I expected. The cast was amazing. Full of up and coming young actors from across the country with incredible talent. I also was reunited with people I worked on in DGTTR, like Zach, Kevin and Johnathan. The crew for this movie was outstanding. I met so many cool people! Viewers are in for a special treat! The lighting, sound recording, film work and attention to detail by the script supervisor will make this slasher one to remember! The crew had to endure the longest hours in below zero temps to bring you the best of holiday slashers, but it will be so worth it! Austin and Kevin definitely had a vision of how this story should be told, complete with blood and gore and action packed with excitement.

10896947_10100808078895923_1805714189203244364_n

The cast, even though many were from warmer climates, did an incredible job of tolerating the weather. I do have to say the fireplace was running 24/7 to dry out mittens and boots and keep us warm. Due to the treacherous roads leading to the cabin, once we were there, we were there to stay, except for one night when we were done early and packed 18 people in 3 cars to have dinner at Nutzy’s, the local bar and grill. Other nights we were treated to home cooking courtesy of Scott, our AD. Nights were spent watching classic horror DVDs. A great thing to experience surrounded by people who know so much about film and are schooled in slasher movies.

This film also gave me a chance to work on some of the pre-production work with Zach and Andrew. I enjoyed helping out and providing the details and design to some of the scenes. It was also a chance to contribute my skills as a FX makeup artist, another horror passion of mine. My favorite and last memory from the set was the magical feeling of spending nearly two weeks in a house decorated for Christmas. While real life Christmas decorations are packed away, we had the chance to enjoy staying in a house decorated from top to bottom for Christmas.

Thank you to everyone for sharing this experience with me!

–Marla Van Lanen

The Version That SHOULD Have Been Released: Carrie (2013)

1010599_1582341135312518_4372533609787546677_n

Many people hated the remake of Carrie that came out in October 2013, stating that the movie was a bland scene-for-scene version of the original that was made for teenage audiences who weren’t interested in watching the “old” version. However, the remake was not made to be a carbon copy of the original but instead a modern retelling with new scenes and ideas, things lifted from the books, references and scenes from the original movie, and new elements such as found footage to make the 2013 Carrie stand on its own. The movie was set for a release on March 15th, 2013 but after Sandy Hook it was pushed back for the Halloween season due to “controversy” and how it would sell more tickets near the scary movie season. There was a 9 month gap between when the announcement of the new release date to the release date of the movie in October, and in those 9 months the studios and many people screwed with a movie and turned it into something it shouldn’t have been.

Kimberly Peirce said many times that she was influenced by bullying stories on the news when making her Carrie remake. An actress in the movie said a scene with her character harassing Carrie with tampons was cut from the movie, as well as a more drawn out social media angle with Chris, the film’s bully, telling people about her plan for prom. Carrie was updated because of bullying in the world today, but they cut out a huge important aspect about the story which was probably against the director’s wishes.

Kimberly Peirce also said the film was going to be like the novel with the movie intercutting to prom survivors and people who knew Carrie talking about her at a courtroom, as well as a character named Sue sharing video diaries. All of this was in the novel and the 2002 remake but all of those scenes were dropped. Sue’s video diaries were cut, a prom survivor’s scene was cut, and on the Blu-Ray special features there is a deleted scene with a woman seeing Carrie’s powers unravel in a flashback which was intercutted with the woman, years later, talking about her experience. That deleted scene is on YouTube and you can tell where cuts were made. Another important aspect dropped.

10959899_1582341195312512_7366312122742354292_n

The original cut of the film also had more gore and violence. People who went to the test screenings said there was a scene with Carrie killing people outside, more violence in the prom, a town destruction, and Carrie electrocuting people inside the gym. These same people talked about other deleted scenes which were put on the Blu-Ray. They obviously aren’t time travelers, so they saw the footage and know a lot of violence was cut because of timing and school shooting controversy. Also, some fans think the death of Carrie’s mother was extended and closer to the book with her heart being crushed but I can’t find that information anywhere.

10430824_1582341231979175_4188689431124876977_n

As you can see, the final cut of Carrie was a scene-for-scene remake with only a few new things added in, but a cut in the digital vault is longer with more character development, scenes from the book, violence, and many other things that would have improved the new version of Carrie and make it stand on its own. A few months after the film released in theaters, a fan made a petition for MGM to put out the full director’s cut on DVD and Blu-Ray. The petition is still up and a few days ago the halfway point was meant, which means more signatures are needed. People have been calling the studios and the studios have been saying marketing is aware and there is no specific release date. Every Carrie fan who knows about the petition thinks a director’s cut will improve the movie we got for the better.

Here is the link for the petition. Signing only takes a second and you just need to put down your name and a note (if you want to).

http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/carriepetition

–Derek Johnson

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The Making of Dismembering Christmas

HeadPresents.jpg

On a brand new Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield and Andrew Beirl will be discussing the making of Dismembering Christmas with some of the cast and crew behind the upcoming Slasher Studios slasher flick. The bloody good fun starts tonight at 10PM central so make sure to call in with your questions!

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The Making of Dismembering Christmas

Slasher Sequel Review: “Wrong Turn 2: Dead End” (2007)

wrong-turn-2-1

The original “Wrong Turn” was a surprise hit upon release in 2003. It featured Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Eliza Dushku and was a gory good time. In Wrong Turn 2, six semi celebrities take part in a survival reality show unknown to them that the reality is to survive! One-by-one they are being stalked by a creepy insane family of deformed cannibals as they have to learn the hard way that being on a reality show means putting on a show.

This 2008 sequel came actually as a very pleasant surprise to me as I was not expecting to like it nearly as much as I did. Although nowhere near the quality of the 2003 original, it still managed to completely shock me. Unlike the original, which was more tension then gore, this one takes on a new life of its own showing that horror has guts.

For the first act of this film, I wasn’t all that impressed by it. However, after the first few kills I
realized that I was in for some fun. Getting near the end, the film took on a Texas Chainsaw Massacre tone with the dinner table scene which I actually found to be very creepy.

As much as I love the original, I can safely say I would happily watch this again! Wrong Turn 2 Dead End is a fun and gory slasher film that is not afraid to sicken the audience. The acting at first was subpar but as the film went on the acting was reasonable. In fact, for a low budget, direct to video sequel, the acting was actually decent. It was a nice thing to see and helped the film along.

Overall this was a fun film and I say go see it!

–Ross Wilcock